Mike Sampson

Linux Systems Administrator




05 Jun 2011


Picked up a OCZ Vertex 2 160GB SSD recently with plans to use it as a boot/system drive in my main workstation. Unfortunately things did not go well. Partitioning the disk seemed to work fine using gdisk and I created an ext4 file system on it though it took a while to complete. Trying to mount the file system resulted in multiple errors of different types and trying to read the partition table also gave garbage output. A quick Google showed a few people with similar issues with SSDs when used with the on board SATA ports on my motherboard, an ASUS M2N which uses an nVidia nForce 430 MCP chipset. The board is quite dated by todays standards but hasn't given me any trouble in the past.

I removed the SSD and placed it in a spare machine fitted with an Adapted AAR 1210 SATA controller. This time the drive performed much better. The partition table appeared fine and the creation of the ext4 file system was much faster. A run of bonnie++ completed with multiple errors when the file system was mounted with the "discard" option to make use of TRIM. Mounting the file system without the "discard" option resulted in a bonnie++ run without errors.

None of my machines have AHCI support which I would have liked to test. I'm not sure if AHCI is required for TRIM support or not. I'm guessing the drive is fine and I'm just having issues due to the age of my hardware. I'll test the SSD on a more recent AHCI machine at work tomorrow. I may need to invest in a AHCI PCIe SATA controller for my main workstation or replace the motherboard.

It appears that SSDs are not always a simple drop in replacement for HDDs.

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